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Shelter a major problem for returnees: Jamahir

Shelter a major problem for returnees: Jamahir

Dec 26, 2012 - 19:49

MAZAR-I-SHARIF (PAN): Minister of Refugees and Repatriation Dr. Jamahir Anwari on Wednesday called the absence of shelters a major problem for the Afghans returning to the country.

Speaking to journalists in Mazar-i-Sharif, the capital of Balkh province where he visited a refugees’ town, Anwari said he wanted to evaluate the status of returnees in the northern zone in line with a presidential decree.

“The situation of returnees is satisfactory in the north," but they were suffering problems like unemployment, lack of access to health facilities, education and potable water. But he said the world recently realized to help assist Afghan refugees returning to their country.

In the next three years, they would try to repatriate 450,000 families to Afghanistan, said Jamahir, who promised the government would construct 48 residential towns for returnees.

Nearly 24 residential towns would be constructed in different provinces of the country in three years, he announced.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says the number of returnees to northern provinces from Pakistan and Iran has doubled in 2012. 

Nearly 4,005 families returned this year, compared with 2,504 in 2011, the UNHCR spokesman in the north, Fahim Hamdard, told Pajhwok Afghan News.

In 2011, the number of returning individuals was 13,811, compared with 23,094 in 2012, Hamdard said. The returnees have settled in nine provinces, receiving assistance.